Becht Engineering Blog

In this section of the site contributing authors submit interesting articles relating to the various services, industries and research & development efforts of Becht Engineering.

Discussions on events, projects and activities with a nuclear flavor.

Operability And Fitness-for-Service (FFS) Of ASME Equipment In Nuclear Power Plants

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Bringing Order and Logic to the Evaluation Process There is a multitude of documents and reports that describe the damage mechanisms of ASME pressure equipment (vessels, pumps, valves, piping, and tanks, and their supports) in nuclear power plants. Thousands of pages published by EPRI, the NRC, ASME, NACE, research laboratories, utilities, contractors, and others, to read, study, and understand. The plant engineer must understand these thousands of pages of damage mechanisms, first to take the right preventive measures, and second, when the damage occurs despite our best efforts, to correctly diagnose the remaining life of the equipment, i.e. determine its fitness-for-service, its operability. In December 2018, EPRI published “Roadmap to Integrity Evaluation and Repair of Nuclear Plant Piping” EPRI report number 3002013156, to help the plant engineer navigate through the technical and regulatory complexities of damage mechanisms and the methods for the evaluation of remaining life. This is an important step...
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Evaluation of Degraded and Nonconforming Conditions For ASME III and B31.1 and B31.7 Class 2 and Class 3 Pressure Boundary Nuclear Plant Components

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1.   Definitions 1.1    Degraded Condition A degraded condition as defined in NRC Inspection Manual 0326 Paragraph 03.02: “A degraded condition is one in which the qualification of an SSC or its functional capability is reduced. Examples of degraded conditions are failures, malfunctions, deficiencies, deviations, and defective material and equipment. Examples of conditions that can reduce the capability of a system are aging, erosion, corrosion, improper operation, and maintenance.” 1.2    Nonconforming Condition A nonconforming condition as defined in US NRC Inspection Manual 0326 Paragraph 03.06: “ A nonconforming condition is a condition of an SSC that involves a failure to meet the CLB or a situation in which quality has been reduced because of factors such as improper design, testing, construction, or modification. The following are examples of nonconforming conditions: An SSC fails to conform to one or more applicable codes or standards (e.g., the CFR, operating license, TSs, UFSAR, and/or licensee...
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EPRI Publishes "Roadmap to Integrity Evaluation and Repair of Nuclear Plant Piping"

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EPRI has just published the report “Roadmap to Integrity Evaluation and Repair of Nuclear Plant Piping” EPRI report number 3002013156, dated December 2018, prepared by Becht Nuclear Services, under EPRI Project Manager T. Eckert. The methods and criteria for the evaluation of degraded and non-conforming conditions in piping systems in nuclear power plants are dispersed among a number of ASME XI Code sections, Appendices, Code Cases, and US NRC regulatory requirements, generic letters, and inspection manual sections. This multitude of requirements makes it necessary to have this roadmap to help the engineer make the right fitness-for-service evaluation and the right repair decision. The EPRI road map addresses the fitness-for-service evaluation methods and criteria for the two most common damage mechanisms in nuclear power plant piping systems: Wall thinning, and cracking. The roadmap also addresses non-conformance caused by overloads, i.e. operating loads that exceed the design loads. Regarding repairs of nuclear plant...
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Mentoring Nuclear Power Plant Engineers

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As the Nuclear Power Plant workforce continues to age, it is imperative that nuclear plant supervisors and managers use as many tools as possible to mentor younger engineers. This article discusses several ways proven to be successful in mentoring younger engineers as a means of filling the voids created by the retirements of senior workforce individuals. These tools are also be effective in retaining younger engineers. The Aging Workforce It is well known that one of the nuclear power industry’s challenges is addressing its aging workforce. In a 2015 Article [Ref. 1], Power Engineering Magazine cites the following statistics: “The Nuclear Energy Institute estimates that 39 percent of the nuclear workforce will be eligible for retirement by 2018, which means the industry must hire 20,000 new workers over the next four years to replace those retiring workers.” “About 40 percent of the work force at America's electric and natural gas utilities...
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